LifeLink Devotions (Click for Audio Blog)
Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Let’s be honest – there are people who bug us. Some bug us with their idiosyncrasies, while others bug us just because we think they’re idiots. Sorry for the bluntness, but that’s the truth of how we think, isn’t it? There are people with whom we lose our patience. There are people we’d just like to smack. There are people who need to be told to shut up, and there are people who need to be encouraged to speak up. There are people who make us mad, and there are people who make us laugh. We laugh with some because they are funny. We laugh at others because we think they are dumb.
Like this woman. I don’t know if hair color has anything to do with it, but she was blond. She was crying her eyes out at work when the boss asked her what was wrong. “I just got off the phone with my mom and she told me my grandmother died.” Being a compassionate man, he told her to take the rest of the day off. She refused, stating that it would be best if she could keep her mind off it by staying busy. Several hours later she was found crying hysterically again. The boss asked if something else had happened. She explained, “I just got off the phone with my sister, and she tells me her grandma died too.”
Smack! It’s what we want to do. But what does Christ say?
Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
I don’t think we realize how much arrogance we display in our attitudes towards others. Far too often our lives stand in direct contradiction to Christ’s Spirit within us, leading us to be completely humble and gentle. Where is the patience that is one of the fruit of the Spirit? Where is the Christ-like perseverance to bear with one another in love? I know where it is – it’s locked up in the basement of our life’s house. We may have poured the foundation correctly in Christ, but the house itself has been built with faulty materials. The building permit for the house was issued by God, but we have changed the name on the permit from LORD to SELF. We built everything just the way we wanted it, for our use and for our honor. We’ve locked the Spirit of God in the basement, and then have the audacity to proclaim that we built on the right foundation. We are the ones who need to be smacked.
We are proud people. We seem to constantly pursue our personal agenda. We seek approval. We perform to earn value. We make choices based on one main criteria – self-satisfaction. We look at others as competitors for a limited amount of worth that is available. We have succumbed to the lie of Satan that’s there’s only so much good to go around, so we’d better grab all we can while it’s accessible. Even if we can’t keep others from getting some of it, we can at least criticize them in our own minds so they appear to us to not have any, which in some warped way is supposed to make us feel like we do. We have wandered a long way from living humbly.
Humble living involves two things. I don’t intend for these to seem simple – they are not. But they are required. Not just partially, but completely. First, we must have an honest opinion of ourselves in comparison to Almighty and Holy God, not in comparison to others; and second, we must have complete confidence in God to provide all things and work all things out for His good, rather than having to control it all ourselves. That’s a lot to work on. Imagine how bugged with us God must get. Or does He? He does not! He is gentle with us, bearing us up in His arms and sustaining us with His powerful right hand. He is patient with us, which is an amazing thing because we all know how much patience it has taken to stand by us knowing all we have done in the past. He bears with us in love because He is the One of perfect love. He has modeled for us how we are to live with others.
May I suggest a starting point. Take a piece of clear plastic, and with a permanent marker write the word SMACK! on it. Now, right up at the top of your car’s windshield, on the inside, next to the reminder for your next oil change, stick that piece of plastic. Then ask God to draw your eyes to that spot every time you get frustrated with another driver. It will remind you that you are the one who needs to be smacked for allowing pride to govern your life. It will be the start of learning humility, gentleness, patience, and love.